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Biology library

Course: biology library   >   unit 1, the scientific method.

  • Controlled experiments
  • The scientific method and experimental design


  • Make an observation.
  • Ask a question.
  • Form a hypothesis , or testable explanation.
  • Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
  • Test the prediction.
  • Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

Scientific method example: Failure to toast

1. make an observation..

  • Observation: the toaster won't toast.

2. Ask a question.

  • Question: Why won't my toaster toast?

3. Propose a hypothesis.

  • Hypothesis: Maybe the outlet is broken.

4. Make predictions.

  • Prediction: If I plug the toaster into a different outlet, then it will toast the bread.

5. Test the predictions.

  • Test of prediction: Plug the toaster into a different outlet and try again.
  • If the toaster does toast, then the hypothesis is supported—likely correct.
  • If the toaster doesn't toast, then the hypothesis is not supported—likely wrong.

6. Iterate.

  • Iteration time!
  • If the hypothesis was supported, we might do additional tests to confirm it, or revise it to be more specific. For instance, we might investigate why the outlet is broken.
  • If the hypothesis was not supported, we would come up with a new hypothesis. For instance, the next hypothesis might be that there's a broken wire in the toaster.

Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, the 6 scientific method steps and how to use them.

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General Education


When you’re faced with a scientific problem, solving it can seem like an impossible prospect. There are so many possible explanations for everything we see and experience—how can you possibly make sense of them all? Science has a simple answer: the scientific method.

The scientific method is a method of asking and answering questions about the world. These guiding principles give scientists a model to work through when trying to understand the world, but where did that model come from, and how does it work?

In this article, we’ll define the scientific method, discuss its long history, and cover each of the scientific method steps in detail.

What Is the Scientific Method?

At its most basic, the scientific method is a procedure for conducting scientific experiments. It’s a set model that scientists in a variety of fields can follow, going from initial observation to conclusion in a loose but concrete format.

The number of steps varies, but the process begins with an observation, progresses through an experiment, and concludes with analysis and sharing data. One of the most important pieces to the scientific method is skepticism —the goal is to find truth, not to confirm a particular thought. That requires reevaluation and repeated experimentation, as well as examining your thinking through rigorous study.

There are in fact multiple scientific methods, as the basic structure can be easily modified.  The one we typically learn about in school is the basic method, based in logic and problem solving, typically used in “hard” science fields like biology, chemistry, and physics. It may vary in other fields, such as psychology, but the basic premise of making observations, testing, and continuing to improve a theory from the results remain the same.


The History of the Scientific Method

The scientific method as we know it today is based on thousands of years of scientific study. Its development goes all the way back to ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, and India.

The Ancient World

In ancient Greece, Aristotle devised an inductive-deductive process , which weighs broad generalizations from data against conclusions reached by narrowing down possibilities from a general statement. However, he favored deductive reasoning, as it identifies causes, which he saw as more important.

Aristotle wrote a great deal about logic and many of his ideas about reasoning echo those found in the modern scientific method, such as ignoring circular evidence and limiting the number of middle terms between the beginning of an experiment and the end. Though his model isn’t the one that we use today, the reliance on logic and thorough testing are still key parts of science today.

The Middle Ages

The next big step toward the development of the modern scientific method came in the Middle Ages, particularly in the Islamic world. Ibn al-Haytham, a physicist from what we now know as Iraq, developed a method of testing, observing, and deducing for his research on vision. al-Haytham was critical of Aristotle’s lack of inductive reasoning, which played an important role in his own research.

Other scientists, including Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, Ibn Sina, and Robert Grosseteste also developed models of scientific reasoning to test their own theories. Though they frequently disagreed with one another and Aristotle, those disagreements and refinements of their methods led to the scientific method we have today.

Following those major developments, particularly Grosseteste’s work, Roger Bacon developed his own cycle of observation (seeing that something occurs), hypothesis (making a guess about why that thing occurs), experimentation (testing that the thing occurs), and verification (an outside person ensuring that the result of the experiment is consistent).

After joining the Franciscan Order, Bacon was granted a special commission to write about science; typically, Friars were not allowed to write books or pamphlets. With this commission, Bacon outlined important tenets of the scientific method, including causes of error, methods of knowledge, and the differences between speculative and experimental science. He also used his own principles to investigate the causes of a rainbow, demonstrating the method’s effectiveness.

Scientific Revolution

Throughout the Renaissance, more great thinkers became involved in devising a thorough, rigorous method of scientific study. Francis Bacon brought inductive reasoning further into the method, whereas Descartes argued that the laws of the universe meant that deductive reasoning was sufficient. Galileo’s research was also inductive reasoning-heavy, as he believed that researchers could not account for every possible variable; therefore, repetition was necessary to eliminate faulty hypotheses and experiments.

All of this led to the birth of the Scientific Revolution , which took place during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In 1660, a group of philosophers and physicians joined together to work on scientific advancement. After approval from England’s crown , the group became known as the Royal Society, which helped create a thriving scientific community and an early academic journal to help introduce rigorous study and peer review.

Previous generations of scientists had touched on the importance of induction and deduction, but Sir Isaac Newton proposed that both were equally important. This contribution helped establish the importance of multiple kinds of reasoning, leading to more rigorous study.

As science began to splinter into separate areas of study, it became necessary to define different methods for different fields. Karl Popper was a leader in this area—he established that science could be subject to error, sometimes intentionally. This was particularly tricky for “soft” sciences like psychology and social sciences, which require different methods. Popper’s theories furthered the divide between sciences like psychology and “hard” sciences like chemistry or physics.

Paul Feyerabend argued that Popper’s methods were too restrictive for certain fields, and followed a less restrictive method hinged on “anything goes,” as great scientists had made discoveries without the Scientific Method. Feyerabend suggested that throughout history scientists had adapted their methods as necessary, and that sometimes it would be necessary to break the rules. This approach suited social and behavioral scientists particularly well, leading to a more diverse range of models for scientists in multiple fields to use.


The Scientific Method Steps

Though different fields may have variations on the model, the basic scientific method is as follows:

#1: Make Observations 

Notice something, such as the air temperature during the winter, what happens when ice cream melts, or how your plants behave when you forget to water them.

#2: Ask a Question

Turn your observation into a question. Why is the temperature lower during the winter? Why does my ice cream melt? Why does my toast always fall butter-side down?

This step can also include doing some research. You may be able to find answers to these questions already, but you can still test them!

#3: Make a Hypothesis

A hypothesis is an educated guess of the answer to your question. Why does your toast always fall butter-side down? Maybe it’s because the butter makes that side of the bread heavier.

A good hypothesis leads to a prediction that you can test, phrased as an if/then statement. In this case, we can pick something like, “If toast is buttered, then it will hit the ground butter-first.”

#4: Experiment

Your experiment is designed to test whether your predication about what will happen is true. A good experiment will test one variable at a time —for example, we’re trying to test whether butter weighs down one side of toast, making it more likely to hit the ground first.

The unbuttered toast is our control variable. If we determine the chance that a slice of unbuttered toast, marked with a dot, will hit the ground on a particular side, we can compare those results to our buttered toast to see if there’s a correlation between the presence of butter and which way the toast falls.

If we decided not to toast the bread, that would be introducing a new question—whether or not toasting the bread has any impact on how it falls. Since that’s not part of our test, we’ll stick with determining whether the presence of butter has any impact on which side hits the ground first.

#5: Analyze Data

After our experiment, we discover that both buttered toast and unbuttered toast have a 50/50 chance of hitting the ground on the buttered or marked side when dropped from a consistent height, straight down. It looks like our hypothesis was incorrect—it’s not the butter that makes the toast hit the ground in a particular way, so it must be something else.

Since we didn’t get the desired result, it’s back to the drawing board. Our hypothesis wasn’t correct, so we’ll need to start fresh. Now that you think about it, your toast seems to hit the ground butter-first when it slides off your plate, not when you drop it from a consistent height. That can be the basis for your new experiment.

#6: Communicate Your Results

Good science needs verification. Your experiment should be replicable by other people, so you can put together a report about how you ran your experiment to see if other peoples’ findings are consistent with yours.

This may be useful for class or a science fair. Professional scientists may publish their findings in scientific journals, where other scientists can read and attempt their own versions of the same experiments. Being part of a scientific community helps your experiments be stronger because other people can see if there are flaws in your approach—such as if you tested with different kinds of bread, or sometimes used peanut butter instead of butter—that can lead you closer to a good answer.


A Scientific Method Example: Falling Toast

We’ve run through a quick recap of the scientific method steps, but let’s look a little deeper by trying again to figure out why toast so often falls butter side down.

#1: Make Observations

At the end of our last experiment, where we learned that butter doesn’t actually make toast more likely to hit the ground on that side, we remembered that the times when our toast hits the ground butter side first are usually when it’s falling off a plate.

The easiest question we can ask is, “Why is that?”

We can actually search this online and find a pretty detailed answer as to why this is true. But we’re budding scientists—we want to see it in action and verify it for ourselves! After all, good science should be replicable, and we have all the tools we need to test out what’s really going on.

Why do we think that buttered toast hits the ground butter-first? We know it’s not because it’s heavier, so we can strike that out. Maybe it’s because of the shape of our plate?

That’s something we can test. We’ll phrase our hypothesis as, “If my toast slides off my plate, then it will fall butter-side down.”

Just seeing that toast falls off a plate butter-side down isn’t enough for us. We want to know why, so we’re going to take things a step further—we’ll set up a slow-motion camera to capture what happens as the toast slides off the plate.

We’ll run the test ten times, each time tilting the same plate until the toast slides off. We’ll make note of each time the butter side lands first and see what’s happening on the video so we can see what’s going on.

When we review the footage, we’ll likely notice that the bread starts to flip when it slides off the edge, changing how it falls in a way that didn’t happen when we dropped it ourselves.

That answers our question, but it’s not the complete picture —how do other plates affect how often toast hits the ground butter-first? What if the toast is already butter-side down when it falls? These are things we can test in further experiments with new hypotheses!

Now that we have results, we can share them with others who can verify our results. As mentioned above, being part of the scientific community can lead to better results. If your results were wildly different from the established thinking about buttered toast, that might be cause for reevaluation. If they’re the same, they might lead others to make new discoveries about buttered toast. At the very least, you have a cool experiment you can share with your friends!

Key Scientific Method Tips

Though science can be complex, the benefit of the scientific method is that it gives you an easy-to-follow means of thinking about why and how things happen. To use it effectively, keep these things in mind!

Don’t Worry About Proving Your Hypothesis

One of the important things to remember about the scientific method is that it’s not necessarily meant to prove your hypothesis right. It’s great if you do manage to guess the reason for something right the first time, but the ultimate goal of an experiment is to find the true reason for your observation to occur, not to prove your hypothesis right.

Good science sometimes means that you’re wrong. That’s not a bad thing—a well-designed experiment with an unanticipated result can be just as revealing, if not more, than an experiment that confirms your hypothesis.

Be Prepared to Try Again

If the data from your experiment doesn’t match your hypothesis, that’s not a bad thing. You’ve eliminated one possible explanation, which brings you one step closer to discovering the truth.

The scientific method isn’t something you’re meant to do exactly once to prove a point. It’s meant to be repeated and adapted to bring you closer to a solution. Even if you can demonstrate truth in your hypothesis, a good scientist will run an experiment again to be sure that the results are replicable. You can even tweak a successful hypothesis to test another factor, such as if we redid our buttered toast experiment to find out whether different kinds of plates affect whether or not the toast falls butter-first. The more we test our hypothesis, the stronger it becomes!

What’s Next?

Want to learn more about the scientific method? These important high school science classes will no doubt cover it in a variety of different contexts.

Test your ability to follow the scientific method using these at-home science experiments for kids !

Need some proof that science is fun? Try making slime

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Melissa Brinks graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor's in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has spent several years tutoring K-12 students in many subjects, including in SAT prep, to help them prepare for their college education.

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Six Steps of the Scientific Method

Learn What Makes Each Stage Important

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The scientific method is a systematic way of learning about the world around us and answering questions. The key difference between the scientific method and other ways of acquiring knowledge are forming a hypothesis and then testing it with an experiment.

The Six Steps

The number of steps can vary from one description to another (which mainly happens when data and analysis are separated into separate steps), however, this is a fairly standard list of the six scientific method steps that you are expected to know for any science class:

  • Purpose/Question Ask a question.
  • Research Conduct background research. Write down your sources so you can cite your references. In the modern era, a lot of your research may be conducted online. Scroll to the bottom of articles to check the references. Even if you can't access the full text of a published article, you can usually view the abstract to see the summary of other experiments. Interview experts on a topic. The more you know about a subject, the easier it will be to conduct your investigation.
  • Hypothesis Propose a hypothesis . This is a sort of educated guess about what you expect. It is a statement used to predict the outcome of an experiment. Usually, a hypothesis is written in terms of cause and effect. Alternatively, it may describe the relationship between two phenomena. One type of hypothesis is the null hypothesis or the no-difference hypothesis. This is an easy type of hypothesis to test because it assumes changing a variable will have no effect on the outcome. In reality, you probably expect a change but rejecting a hypothesis may be more useful than accepting one.
  • Experiment Design and perform an experiment to test your hypothesis. An experiment has an independent and dependent variable. You change or control the independent variable and record the effect it has on the dependent variable . It's important to change only one variable for an experiment rather than try to combine the effects of variables in an experiment. For example, if you want to test the effects of light intensity and fertilizer concentration on the growth rate of a plant, you're really looking at two separate experiments.
  • Data/Analysis Record observations and analyze the meaning of the data. Often, you'll prepare a table or graph of the data. Don't throw out data points you think are bad or that don't support your predictions. Some of the most incredible discoveries in science were made because the data looked wrong! Once you have the data, you may need to perform a mathematical analysis to support or refute your hypothesis.
  • Conclusion Conclude whether to accept or reject your hypothesis. There is no right or wrong outcome to an experiment, so either result is fine. Accepting a hypothesis does not necessarily mean it's correct! Sometimes repeating an experiment may give a different result. In other cases, a hypothesis may predict an outcome, yet you might draw an incorrect conclusion. Communicate your results. The results may be compiled into a lab report or formally submitted as a paper. Whether you accept or reject the hypothesis, you likely learned something about the subject and may wish to revise the original hypothesis or form a new one for a future experiment.

When Are There Seven Steps?

Sometimes the scientific method is taught with seven steps instead of six. In this model, the first step of the scientific method is to make observations. Really, even if you don't make observations formally, you think about prior experiences with a subject in order to ask a question or solve a problem.

Formal observations are a type of brainstorming that can help you find an idea and form a hypothesis. Observe your subject and record everything about it. Include colors, timing, sounds, temperatures, changes, behavior, and anything that strikes you as interesting or significant.

When you design an experiment, you are controlling and measuring variables. There are three types of variables:

  • Controlled Variables:  You can have as many  controlled variables  as you like. These are parts of the experiment that you try to keep constant throughout an experiment so that they won't interfere with your test. Writing down controlled variables is a good idea because it helps make your experiment  reproducible , which is important in science! If you have trouble duplicating results from one experiment to another, there may be a controlled variable that you missed.
  • Independent Variable:  This is the variable you control.
  • Dependent Variable:  This is the variable you measure. It is called the dependent variable because it  depends  on the independent variable.
  • Scientific Method Flow Chart
  • What Is an Experiment? Definition and Design
  • How To Design a Science Fair Experiment
  • What Is a Hypothesis? (Science)
  • Scientific Variable
  • What Are the Elements of a Good Hypothesis?
  • Scientific Method Vocabulary Terms
  • Understanding Simple vs Controlled Experiments
  • What Are Independent and Dependent Variables?
  • Null Hypothesis Examples
  • Null Hypothesis Definition and Examples
  • Scientific Method Lesson Plan
  • Dependent Variable Definition and Examples
  • What Is a Testable Hypothesis?
  • How to Write a Lab Report

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Biased: when someone presents only one viewpoint. Biased articles do not give all the facts and often mislead the reader.

Conclusion: what a person decides based on information they get through research including experiments.

Method: following a certain set of steps to make something, or find an answer to a question. Like baking a pie or fixing the tire on a bicycle.

Research: looking for answers to questions using tools like the scientific method.

What is the Scientific Method?

If you have ever seen something going on and wondered why or how it happened, you have started down the road to discovery. If you continue your journey, you are likely to guess at some of your own answers for your question. Even further along the road you might think of ways to find out if your answers are correct. At this point, whether you know it or not, you are following a path that scientists call the scientific method. If you do some experiments to see if your answer is correct and write down what you learn in a report, you have pretty much completed everything a scientist might do in a laboratory or out in the field when doing research. In fact, the scientific method works well for many things that don’t usually seem so scientific.

The Flashlight Mystery...

Like a crime detective, you can use the elements of the scientific method to find the answer to everyday problems. For example you pick up a flashlight and turn it on, but the light does not work. You have observed that the light does not work. You ask the question, Why doesn't it work? With what you already know about flashlights, you might guess (hypothesize) that the batteries are dead. You say to yourself, if I buy new batteries and replace the old ones in the flashlight, the light should work. To test this prediction you replace the old batteries with new ones from the store. You click the switch on. Does the flashlight work? No?

What else could be the answer? You go back and hypothesize that it might be a broken light bulb. Your new prediction is if you replace the broken light bulb the flashlight will work. It’s time to go back to the store and buy a new light bulb. Now you test this new hypothesis and prediction by replacing the bulb in the flashlight. You flip the switch again. The flashlight lights up. Success!

If this were a scientific project, you would also have written down the results of your tests and a conclusion of your experiments. The results of only the light bulb hypothesis stood up to the test, and we had to reject the battery hypothesis. You would also communicate what you learned to others with a published report, article, or scientific paper.

More to the Mystery...

Not all questions can be answered with only two experiments. It can often take a lot more work and tests to find an answer. Even when you find an answer it may not always be the only answer to the question. This is one reason that different scientists will work on the same question and do their own experiments.

In our flashlight example, you might never get the light to turn on. This probably means you haven’t made enough different guesses (hypotheses) to test the problem. Were the new batteries in the right way? Was the switch rusty, or maybe a wire is broken. Think of all the possible guesses you could test.

No matter what the question, you can use the scientific method to guide you towards an answer. Even those questions that do not seem to be scientific can be solved using this process. Like with the flashlight, you might need to repeat several of the elements of the scientific method to find an answer. No matter how complex the diagram, the scientific method will include the following pieces in order to be complete.

The elements of the scientific method can be used by anyone to help answer questions. Even though these elements can be used in an ordered manner, they do not have to follow the same order. It is better to think of the scientific method as fluid process that can take different paths depending on the situation. Just be sure to incorporate all of the elements when seeking unbiased answers. Click on the image to see other versions of the scientific method. 

  • Observation – seeing, hearing, touching…
  • Asking a question – why or how?
  • Hypothesis – a fancy name for an educated guess about what causes something to happen.
  • Prediction – what you think will happen if…
  • Testing – this is where you get to experiment and be creative.
  • Conclusion – decide how your test results relate to your predictions.
  • Communicate – share your results so others can learn from your work.

Other Parts of the Scientific Method…

Now that you have an idea of how the scientific method works there are a few other things to learn so that you will be able test out your new skills and test your hypotheses.

  • Control - A group that is similar to other groups but is left alone so that it can be compared to see what happened to the other groups that are tested.
  • Data - the numbers and measurements you get from the test in a scientific experiment.
  • Independent variable - a variable that you change as part of your experiment. It is important to only change one independent variable for each experiment. 
  • Dependent variable - a variable that changes when the independent variable is changed.
  • Controlled Variable - these are variables that you never change in your experiment.

Practicing Observations and Wondering How and Why...

It is really hard not to notice things around us and wonder about them. This is how the scientific method begins, by observing and wondering why and how. Why do leaves on trees in many parts of the world turn from green to red, orange, or yellow and fall to the ground when winter comes? How does a spider move around their web without getting stuck like its victims? Both of these questions start with observing something and asking questions. The next time you see something and ask yourself, “I wonder why that does that, or how can it do that?” try out your new detective skills, and see what answer you can find. 

Try Out Your Detective Skills

Now that you have the basics of the scientific method, why not test your skills? The Science Detectives Training Room will test your problem solving ability. Step inside and see if you can escape the room. While you are there, look around and see what other interesting things might be waiting. We think you find this game a great way to learn the scientific method. In fact, we bet you will discover that you already use the scientific method and didn't even know it.

After you've learned the basics of being a detective, practice those skills in The Case of the Mystery Images . While you are there, pay attention to what's around you as you figure out just what is happening in the mystery photos that surround you.

Ready for your next challenge? Try Science Detectives: Case of the Mystery Images for even more mysteries to solve. Take your scientific abilities one step further by making observations and formulating hypothesis about the mysterious images you find within.


We thank John Alcock for his feedback and suggestions on this article.

Science Detectives - Mystery Room Escape was produced in partnership with the Arizona Science Education Collaborative (ASEC) and funded by ASU Women & Philanthropy.

Flashlight image via Wikimedia Commons - The Oxygen Team

Read more about: Using the Scientific Method to Solve Mysteries

View citation, bibliographic details:.

  • Article: Using the Scientific Method to Solve Mysteries
  • Author(s): CJ Kazilek and David Pearson
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: October 8, 2009
  • Date accessed: September 1, 2023
  • Link: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/explore/scientific-method

CJ Kazilek and David Pearson. (2009, October 08). Using the Scientific Method to Solve Mysteries . ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved September 1, 2023 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/explore/scientific-method

Chicago Manual of Style

CJ Kazilek and David Pearson. "Using the Scientific Method to Solve Mysteries ". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 08 October, 2009. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/explore/scientific-method

MLA 2017 Style

CJ Kazilek and David Pearson. "Using the Scientific Method to Solve Mysteries ". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 08 Oct 2009. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 1 Sep 2023. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/explore/scientific-method

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How to Use the Scientific Method

Last Updated: March 11, 2023

This article was co-authored by Bess Ruff, MA . Bess Ruff is a Geography PhD student at Florida State University. She received her MA in Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016. She has conducted survey work for marine spatial planning projects in the Caribbean and provided research support as a graduate fellow for the Sustainable Fisheries Group. This article has been viewed 413,744 times.

The scientific method is the backbone of all rigorous scientific inquiry. A set of techniques and principles designed to advance scientific research and further the accumulation of knowledge, the scientific method has been gradually developed and honed by everyone from the philosophers of ancient Greece to the scientists of today. While there are some variations on the method and disagreement over how it should be used, the basic steps are easy to understand and invaluable not only to scientific research but also to solving everyday problems.

Coming up with a Hypothesis

Image titled Use the Scientific Method Step 1

  • For example, you may notice that the potted plant you place on the windowsill is taller than the plant you keep in your bedroom, even though they’re the same type of plant and you planted them at the same time. You may then ask why it is that the two plants have different growth rates.

Image titled Use the Scientific Method Step 2

  • For example, if you’re looking for information to answer your question about plants, you might start by looking up information on plant biology and photosynthesis from a science textbook or online. You may also find that gardening books and websites useful.
  • You want to read as much about your question as possible, because the question may have already been answered, or you may find information that will help you form your hypothesis.

Image titled Use the Scientific Method Step 3

  • Your hypothesis should sound like a statement of fact. For example, your hypothesis might be that it was the greater amount of sunlight on the windowsill that caused your first potted plant to grow faster than the second.
  • Make sure that your hypothesis is testable. In other words, it needs to be something you can prove in a scientific experiment.

Image titled Use the Scientific Method Step 4

  • Your prediction should be in the form of an if-then statement. For example, you might say, “If a plant receives more direct sunlight, then it will grow at a faster rate.”

Conducting Your Experiment

Image titled Use the Scientific Method Step 5

  • For example, you should list precisely how much soil you put in each pot, how much water you give each plant and how often, and how much sunlight each plant receives (measured in watts per square meter).
  • Reproducibility is one of the key underpinnings of the scientific method, so it’s important that you lay out exactly how your experiment is conducted to ensure that others can copy it and try to get the same results.

Image titled Use the Scientific Method Step 6

  • For example, in the potted plant experiment, the independent variable would be the amount of sunlight each plant is exposed to. Your dependent variable would be the height of each plant.

Image titled Use the Scientific Method Step 7

  • For example, you can design an experiment in which you place 3 different potted plants (of the same species) in 3 different locations: 1 on the windowsill, 1 in the same room but in an area with less direct sunlight, and 1 in a darkened closet. You would then record how tall each plant grows at the end of each week for a 6-week period.
  • Be sure you're only testing a single phenomenon at a time. All other variables should be constant across your samples. For example, all 3 of your plants should be in the same size pots with the same type and amount of soil. They should also get the same amount of water at the same time each day.
  • For some complex questions, there may be hundreds or thousands of potential causes and it can be difficult or impossible to isolate them in any single experiment.

Image titled Use the Scientific Method Step 8

  • It’s very important that you make it possible for other scientists to precisely copy everything you did when they repeat your experiment. This allows them to rule out that your results came from any discrepancies or mistakes. [8] X Research source

Image titled Use the Scientific Method Step 9

  • In the potted plant example, place each plant in the areas with differing amounts of sunlight that you selected. If the plants have already grown above the soil line, record their initial height. Water each plant with the exact same amount of water on a daily basis. At the end of each 7-day period, record each plant’s height.
  • You should run your experiment several times to make sure that your own results are consistent and to weed out any anomalies. There’s no set number of times you need to repeat an experiment, but you should aim to repeat it at least twice. [9] X Trustworthy Source Science Buddies Expert-sourced database of science projects, explanations, and educational material Go to source

Analyzing and Reporting Your Results

Image titled Use the Scientific Method Step 10

  • You can analyze your data by looking for certain patterns or proportional relationships within your results. For example, if you notice that the plants with more sunlight grew more quickly than the plant left in the dark, than you can deduce that the amount of sunlight had a directly proportional relationship to the growth rate.
  • Whether the data confirms or fails to confirm the hypothesis, you must always be on the lookout for other things, so-called "confounding" or "exogenous" variables, that may have influenced the results. If this is the case, you may need to redesign and repeat your experiment.
  • In more complicated tests, you may not be able to figure out whether your hypothesis is confirmed without first spending considerable time looking at the data you gathered in your hypothesis testing.
  • You may also find that your test is inconclusive if it fails to either confirm or fail to confirm your hypothesis.

Image titled Use the Scientific Method Step 11

  • For example, you might consider publishing your findings in a scientific journal like Nature or at an academic conference hosted by a local university.
  • The format in which you communicate your findings will largely be determined by the venue. For example, if you’re presenting your findings at a science fair, you may find that a simple poster board will suffice.

Image titled Use the Scientific Method Step 12

  • For example, if your potted plant experiment showed no significant relationship between the amount of sunlight received and the growth rates of your three plants, you should consider what other variables might explain the difference in plant height you witnessed before. These could be the amount of water you use for each plant, the type of soil used, etc.
  • Even if your hypothesis is confirmed after 1 experiment, further research will be necessary to ensure that the results are reproducible and not just a one-time coincidence.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

  • Understand the difference between a correlation and a causal relationship. If you confirm your hypothesis, you have found a correlation (a relationship between two variables). If others also confirm the hypothesis, the correlation is stronger. But just because there is a correlation does not necessarily mean that one variable caused the other. In fact, you have to use all these procedures in order to have a good project. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • There are many ways to test hypotheses, and the type of experiment described above is just one simple variety. Hypothesis testing can also take the form of double-blind studies, statistical data collection, or other methods. The unifying factor is that all methods collect data or information that can be used to test the hypothesis. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

steps in solving a problem using scientific method

  • Beware exogenous variables. Even in the simplest experiments, environmental factors can creep in and influence your results. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Always let the data speak for itself. Scientists must always be careful that their biases, mistakes, and egos do not lead to misleading results. Always report your experiments truthfully and in detail. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

You Might Also Like

Write a Hypothesis

  • ↑ https://www.livescience.com/20896-science-scientific-method.html
  • ↑ https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/steps-of-the-scientific-method
  • ↑ https://www.khanacademy.org/science/high-school-biology/hs-biology-foundations/hs-biology-and-the-scientific-method/a/the-science-of-biology

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Scientific Method Steps in Psychology Research

Steps, Uses, and Key Terms

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

steps in solving a problem using scientific method

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

steps in solving a problem using scientific method

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

steps in solving a problem using scientific method

Verywell / Theresa Chiechi

How do researchers investigate psychological phenomena? They utilize a process known as the scientific method to study different aspects of how people think and behave.

When conducting research, the scientific method steps to follow are:

  • Observe what you want to investigate
  • Ask a research question and make predictions
  • Test the hypothesis and collect data
  • Examine the results and draw conclusions
  • Report and share the results 

This process not only allows scientists to investigate and understand different psychological phenomena but also provides researchers and others a way to share and discuss the results of their studies.

Generally, there are five main steps in the scientific method, although some may break down this process into six or seven steps. An additional step in the process can also include developing new research questions based on your findings.

What Is the Scientific Method?

What is the scientific method and how is it used in psychology?

The scientific method consists of five steps. It is essentially a step-by-step process that researchers can follow to determine if there is some type of relationship between two or more variables.

By knowing the steps of the scientific method, you can better understand the process researchers go through to arrive at conclusions about human behavior.

Scientific Method Steps

While research studies can vary, these are the basic steps that psychologists and scientists use when investigating human behavior.

The following are the scientific method steps:

Step 1. Make an Observation

Before a researcher can begin, they must choose a topic to study. Once an area of interest has been chosen, the researchers must then conduct a thorough review of the existing literature on the subject. This review will provide valuable information about what has already been learned about the topic and what questions remain to be answered.

A literature review might involve looking at a considerable amount of written material from both books and academic journals dating back decades.

The relevant information collected by the researcher will be presented in the introduction section of the final published study results. This background material will also help the researcher with the first major step in conducting a psychology study: formulating a hypothesis.

Step 2. Ask a Question

Once a researcher has observed something and gained some background information on the topic, the next step is to ask a question. The researcher will form a hypothesis, which is an educated guess about the relationship between two or more variables

For example, a researcher might ask a question about the relationship between sleep and academic performance: Do students who get more sleep perform better on tests at school?

In order to formulate a good hypothesis, it is important to think about different questions you might have about a particular topic.

You should also consider how you could investigate the causes. Falsifiability is an important part of any valid hypothesis. In other words, if a hypothesis was false, there needs to be a way for scientists to demonstrate that it is false.

Step 3. Test Your Hypothesis and Collect Data

Once you have a solid hypothesis, the next step of the scientific method is to put this hunch to the test by collecting data. The exact methods used to investigate a hypothesis depend on exactly what is being studied. There are two basic forms of research that a psychologist might utilize: descriptive research or experimental research.

Descriptive research is typically used when it would be difficult or even impossible to manipulate the variables in question. Examples of descriptive research include case studies, naturalistic observation , and correlation studies. Phone surveys that are often used by marketers are one example of descriptive research.

Correlational studies are quite common in psychology research. While they do not allow researchers to determine cause-and-effect, they do make it possible to spot relationships between different variables and to measure the strength of those relationships. 

Experimental research is used to explore cause-and-effect relationships between two or more variables. This type of research involves systematically manipulating an independent variable and then measuring the effect that it has on a defined dependent variable .

One of the major advantages of this method is that it allows researchers to actually determine if changes in one variable actually cause changes in another.

While psychology experiments are often quite complex, a simple experiment is fairly basic but does allow researchers to determine cause-and-effect relationships between variables. Most simple experiments use a control group (those who do not receive the treatment) and an experimental group (those who do receive the treatment).

Step 4. Examine the Results and Draw Conclusions

Once a researcher has designed the study and collected the data, it is time to examine this information and draw conclusions about what has been found.  Using statistics , researchers can summarize the data, analyze the results, and draw conclusions based on this evidence.

So how does a researcher decide what the results of a study mean? Not only can statistical analysis support (or refute) the researcher’s hypothesis; it can also be used to determine if the findings are statistically significant.

When results are said to be statistically significant, it means that it is unlikely that these results are due to chance.

Based on these observations, researchers must then determine what the results mean. In some cases, an experiment will support a hypothesis, but in other cases, it will fail to support the hypothesis.

So what happens if the results of a psychology experiment do not support the researcher's hypothesis? Does this mean that the study was worthless?

Just because the findings fail to support the hypothesis does not mean that the research is not useful or informative. In fact, such research plays an important role in helping scientists develop new questions and hypotheses to explore in the future.

After conclusions have been drawn, the next step is to share the results with the rest of the scientific community. This is an important part of the process because it contributes to the overall knowledge base and can help other scientists find new research avenues to explore.

Step 5. Report the Results

The final step in a psychology study is to report the findings. This is often done by writing up a description of the study and publishing the article in an academic or professional journal. The results of psychological studies can be seen in peer-reviewed journals such as  Psychological Bulletin , the  Journal of Social Psychology ,  Developmental Psychology , and many others.

The structure of a journal article follows a specified format that has been outlined by the  American Psychological Association (APA) . In these articles, researchers:

  • Provide a brief history and background on previous research
  • Present their hypothesis
  • Identify who participated in the study and how they were selected
  • Provide operational definitions for each variable
  • Describe the measures and procedures that were used to collect data
  • Explain how the information collected was analyzed
  • Discuss what the results mean

Why is such a detailed record of a psychological study so important? By clearly explaining the steps and procedures used throughout the study, other researchers can then replicate the results. The editorial process employed by academic and professional journals ensures that each article that is submitted undergoes a thorough peer review, which helps ensure that the study is scientifically sound.

Once published, the study becomes another piece of the existing puzzle of our knowledge base on that topic.

Before you begin exploring the scientific method steps, here's a review of some key terms and definitions that you should be familiar with:

  • Falsifiable : The variables can be measured so that if a hypothesis is false, it can be proven false
  • Hypothesis : An educated guess about the possible relationship between two or more variables
  • Variable : A factor or element that can change in observable and measurable ways
  • Operational definition : A full description of exactly how variables are defined, how they will be manipulated, and how they will be measured

Uses for the Scientific Method

The  goals of psychological studies  are to describe, explain, predict and perhaps influence mental processes or behaviors. In order to do this, psychologists utilize the scientific method to conduct psychological research. The scientific method is a set of principles and procedures that are used by researchers to develop questions, collect data, and reach conclusions.

Goals of Scientific Research in Psychology

Researchers seek not only to describe behaviors and explain why these behaviors occur; they also strive to create research that can be used to predict and even change human behavior.

Psychologists and other social scientists regularly propose explanations for human behavior. On a more informal level, people make judgments about the intentions, motivations , and actions of others on a daily basis.

While the everyday judgments we make about human behavior are subjective and anecdotal, researchers use the scientific method to study psychology in an objective and systematic way. The results of these studies are often reported in popular media, which leads many to wonder just how or why researchers arrived at the conclusions they did.

Examples of the Scientific Method

Now that you're familiar with the scientific method steps, it's useful to see how each step could work with a real-life example.

Say, for instance, that researchers set out to discover what the relationship is between psychotherapy and anxiety .

  • Step 1. Make an observation : The researchers choose to focus their study on adults ages 25 to 40 with generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Step 2. Ask a question : The question they want to answer in their study is: Do weekly psychotherapy sessions reduce symptoms in adults ages 25 to 40 with generalized anxiety disorder?
  • Step 3. Test your hypothesis : Researchers collect data on participants' anxiety symptoms . They work with therapists to create a consistent program that all participants undergo. Group 1 may attend therapy once per week, whereas group 2 does not attend therapy.
  • Step 4. Examine the results : Participants record their symptoms and any changes over a period of three months. After this period, people in group 1 report significant improvements in their anxiety symptoms, whereas those in group 2 report no significant changes.
  • Step 5. Report the results : Researchers write a report that includes their hypothesis, information on participants, variables, procedure, and conclusions drawn from the study. In this case, they say that "Weekly therapy sessions are shown to reduce anxiety symptoms in adults ages 25 to 40."

Of course, there are many details that go into planning and executing a study such as this. But this general outline gives you an idea of how an idea is formulated and tested, and how researchers arrive at results using the scientific method.

Erol A. How to conduct scientific research ? Noro Psikiyatr Ars . 2017;54(2):97-98. doi:10.5152/npa.2017.0120102

University of Minnesota. Psychologists use the scientific method to guide their research .

Shaughnessy, JJ, Zechmeister, EB, & Zechmeister, JS. Research Methods In Psychology . New York: McGraw Hill Education; 2015.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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Chapter 6: Scientific Problem Solving

If you prefer a video, click this button:

Scientific Problem Solving Video

Science is a method to discover empirical truths and patterns. Roughly speaking, the scientific method consists of

1) Observing

2) Forming a hypothesis

3) Testing the hypothesis and

4) Interpreting the data to confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis.

The beauty of science is that any scientific claim can be tested if you have the proper knowledge and equipment.

You can also use the scientific method to solve everyday problems: 1) Observe and clearly define the problem, 2) Form a hypothesis, 3) Test it, and 4) Confirm the hypothesis... or disconfirm it and start over.

So, the next time you are cursing in traffic or emotionally reacting to a problem, take a few deep breaths and then use this rational and scientific approach. Slow down, observe, hypothesize, and test.

Explain how you would solve these problems using the four steps of the scientific process.

Example: The fire alarm is not working.

1) Observe/Define the problem: it does not beep when I push the button.

2) Hypothesis: it is caused by a dead battery.

3) Test: try a new battery.

4) Confirm/Disconfirm: the alarm now works. If it does not work, start over by testing another hypothesis like “it has a loose wire.”  

  • My car will not start.
  • My child is having problems reading.
  • I owe $20,000, but only make $10 an hour.
  • My boss is mean. I want him/her to stop using rude language towards me.
  • My significant other is lazy. I want him/her to help out more.

6-8. Identify three problems where you can apply the scientific method.

*Answers will vary.

Application and Value

Science is more of a process than a body of knowledge. In our daily lives, we often emotionally react and jump to quick solutions when faced with problems, but following the four steps of the scientific process can help us slow down and discover more intelligent solutions.

In your study of philosophy, you will explore deeper questions about science. For example, are there any forms of knowledge that are nonscientific? Can science tell us what we ought to do? Can logical and mathematical truths be proven in a scientific way? Does introspection give knowledge even though I cannot scientifically observe your introspective thoughts? Is science truly objective?  These are challenging questions that should help you discover the scope of science without diminishing its awesome power.

But the first step in answering these questions is knowing what science is, and this chapter clarifies its essence. Again, Science is not so much a body of knowledge as it is a method of observing, hypothesizing, and testing. This method is what all the sciences have in common.

Perhaps too science should involve falsifiability, which is a concept explored in the next chapter.

Return to Logic Home                            Next (Chapter 7, Falsifiability)

steps in solving a problem using scientific method

Click on my affiliate link above (Logic Book Image) to explore the most popular introduction to logic. If you purchase it, I recommend buying a less expensive older edition.

Learning Goals

  • Develop critical thinking and communication skills.
  • Apply the Scientific Method to solve a real-world problem.
  • Use the Nursing Process to resolve a medical problem.

Applying the Scientific Method to Solve a Nursing Problem (Remix)

Part 1 - lesson description, lesson title.

Case Study: An Application of the Scientific Method to the Nursing Process

The purpose of this lesson is for adult learners to improve their communication skills --- specifically reading, writing, speaking and listening --- by using the Scientific Method to solve a nursing problem. The target audience of this lesson is adults at the 12th grade reading and writing levels. This lesson is designed for a face-to-face, instructor-led classroom setting. 

Learner Audience / Primary Users

The primary audience for this lesson is adults who are studying to take the General Education Development (GED) exam, reading at a 12 th -grade level and interested in a career in the health care industry, specifically nursing.

Education Use

  • Curriculum / Instruction 
  • Professional Development

Material Type

  • Instructional Material
  • Lesson Plans
  • Student Guide
  • Homework and Assignment
  • Video Lectures
  • Images and Illustrations
  • Designers for Learning
  • Adult Education
  • Scientific Method
  • Nursing Process

Time Required

Targeted skills.

  • Employability
  • Pre-nursing

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, the learner will be able to:

  • Recall personal problem-solving techniques.
  • Discuss concepts related to the Scientific Method.
  • Identify the six steps of the Scientific Method.
  • Solve a medical problem using the steps of the Scientific Method.
  • Complete a Patient Plan of Care form using the Nursing Process.
  • Design and deliver a presentation about using the Scientific Method to solve a problem/make a decision.

CCRS Alignment

  • Subject: English Language Arts / Literacy
  • Grade Level: E (11 th – CCR)
  • Strand: Reading Informational Text, Reading Scientific and Technical Text, Speaking and Listening

CCR Anchor 3: Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. (Apply this standard to texts of appropriate complexity as outlined by Standard 10.)

Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text. (RST.11-12.3)

CCR Anchor 7: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. (Apply this standard to texts of appropriate complexity as outline by Standard 10.)

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem. (RI.11-12.7)

Speaking and Listening

CCR Anchor 4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task. (SL.11-12.4)

Prior Knowledge

The adult learner must read and write at least a 12 th -grade level. Ideally, the learner has had some exposure to the Scientific Method, although it is not mandatory to complete this lesson.  

Required Resources

  • Lesson Syllabus (Learner)
  • Walk Around Survey Worksheet (Learner)
  • Scientific Method Quiz (Learner and Instructor)
  • Case Study Guided Practice Worksheet (Learner and Instructor) 
  • Case Study Evaluation Worksheet (Learner and Instructor) 
  • Lesson Survey (Learner)
  • Pen or pencil, one per learner
  • Access to the internet
  • Video playing medium

Lesson License and Author

  • Lesson Author: Christopher Simpson
  • Lesson Rewrite Author: Rema Merrick
  • License: Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license

Part 2 - Lesson

Instructional strategies and activities.

WARM-UP                                                                                                                                                        TIME: 5 Minutes

Think-Pair-Share Activity : Ask learners to think about a difficult problem (or decision) they had to solve (or reach) and the techniques did they used to solve (reach) it.  Allow time for learners to individually process their thinking in response to the question. Then, pair learners into two-person teams and ask them to discuss with their collaborative partners (pairs) and then share with the group or with another pair.

INTRODUCTION                                                                                                                                            TIME: 10 Minutes

Presentation :  Distribute the lesson syllabus to students and then deliver the Introduction presentation to learners using the PDF or PowerPoint version of the presentation.     

Scientific Method Walk Around Activity : Distribute the Scientific Method Walk Around Activity worksheet to learners. Explain the instructions and invite them to start the activity by thinking about a word or phrase that they think of in relation to the Scientific Method. The word or phrase they record will capture the gist of their prior knowledge or preconceived thinking.

Have a few learners share what they learned and/or already know about the Scientific Method. Adjust the presentation section based on how much the learners already know about the Scientific Method.

PRESENTATION / MODELING / DEMONSTRATION                                                                           TIME: 15 Minutes

Explain to learners that the Scientific Method is a problem-solving approach used in all sciences—including chemistry, physics, geology, and psychology. The scientists in these fields ask different questions and perform different tests. However, they use the same core approach to find answers that are logical and supported by evidence.

Scientific Method Video (YouTube) : Introduce and play the YouTube Scientific Method Song video. Encourage learners to write down the steps of the Scientific Method as they listen to the song. 

Video Embedded Code : <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KIFz_-KzURY" frameborder="0" gesture="media" allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Scientific Method Song YouTube Video

Scientific Method Review : After learners watch the video, review the steps of the Scientific Method along with an example of each step (see information below) to reinforce the information.

Steps of the Scientific Method

  • Make an observation.
  • Ask a question.
  • Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
  • Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
  • Test the prediction.
  • Use the results to come up with a conclusion; make new hypotheses or predictions, if necessary.

Example (You may use this example or develop your own.)

  • Make an observation : You pick up your iPhone to send your best friend a text and the iPhone is not working; the screen is black. 
  • Ask a question based on your observations : Why is iPhone not working? Why is the screen black?
  • Make a testable, educated guess regarding the answer to the question : The iPhone is not working because it is not charged.
  • Make a prediction regarding the outcome of the test if the hypothesis is correct : If you charge the iPhone it will work.
  • Create an experiment to test the hypothesis and prediction. Record the results : Charge the phone for one hour. After an hour of charging, you turn the iPhone on and it works. You text your best friend and she responds. 
  • Analyze the information from the experiment and make a conclusion regarding the accuracy of the hypothesis and prediction. If the hypothesis is proven wrong, repeat the process : Your hypothesis and prediction were both correct. The iPhone did not work because it was not charged. Once you charged the iPhone, you were able to successfully send a text.

Common Error : Learners often confuse the hypothesis and prediction steps of the Scientific Method. If you notice learners struggling with this, clarify with the following information.

  • A hypothesis is a guess about the cause of the problem.
  • A prediction is a guess about the expected observable outcome/result if the hypothesis is correct.  

Scientific Method Quiz : After learners watch the video, distribute the quiz to learners and have them complete it. After all learners complete the quiz, review the correct answers located on page 2 of the instructor’s version of the quiz

GUIDED PRACTICE                                                                                                                                      TIME: 30 Minutes

Introduce this section, by telling learners that in this activity they are going to use the Scientific Method to solve a medical problem.

Scientific Method Case Study Guided Practice : Distribute the Scientific Method/Nursing Process infographic and case study guided practice worksheet to learners. Ask learners to work through the case study using the infographic. Learners may complete this individually, in pairs or in groups. Once learners complete the activity, review the answers with learners. Correct answers are outlined in the instructor version of the worksheet.

This is an infographic that shows the relationship of the steps of the Scientific Method to each step of the Nursing Process.

This is an infographic that shows the relationship of the steps of the Scientific Method to each step of the Nursing Process.

EVALUATION                                                                                                                                                   Time: 30 Minutes

Nursing Process Case Study Evaluation : Distribute the case study evaluation worksheet to learners. Ask them to use the Nursing Process to complete the activity. Once learners complete the activity, you will need to review their answers and provide an evaluation. This graded-activity is worth a total of 10 points. Specific instructions for grading this activity are outlined in the instructor version of the worksheet.

APPLICATION                                                                                                                                                            Time: TBD

Application Presentation and Review : Have learners reflect on and select a problem (or decision) in their personal lives that they can solve (or make) using the Scientific Method. Learners will develop a short presentation outlining how they used (or could use) the Scientific Method to solve the problem (or make the decision).

Learners will review at least three presentations using the following format: 1) List three things they learned from the presentation. 2) Two things they wished the presentation addressed. 3) One thing that they really loved about the presentation. Based on resources available, learners may use one of the presentation delivery options below.

Presentation Delivery Options

  • Digital Presentation : Learners will display the presentation in an online forum that allows a medium for review (Slide Share, Prezi, etc.) using any multimedia components that they choose (i.e., video, text, illustrations, photographs, animation). Encourage learners to be as creative as they wish.
  • Oral Presentation: Learners deliver the presentation in front of the class using any multimedia components they choose (i.e., video, text, poster board, PowerPoint, audio). Encourage learners to be as creative as they wish.
  • Visual Presentation: Learners deliver the presentation in a visual form like a poster board with photographs, props, etc. Encourage learners to be a creative as they wish.

Allow learners an appropriate amount of time to complete the presentation. For example, if the class meets once a week perhaps the presentation is due at the next class.

After learners complete the lesson, have them complete the lesson survey. Use this information to make adjustments the next time you teach the lesson.

Key Terms and Concepts

Scientific Method : “The scientific method is a process for experimentation that is used to explore observations and answer questions.” (Steps of the Scientific Method, n.d.)

Nursing Process : a series of five organized steps designed for nurses to deliver patient-focused care: assessing, diagnosing, planning, implementing, and evaluating. It is a modified version of the Scientific Method. (The Nursing Process, n.d.) 

Nursing Plan of Care : a written plan based on the patient’s assessment data, diagnosis and goals that nurses as well as other health professionals caring for the patient can access (The Nursing Process, n.d.) 

Part 3 - Supplemental Resources and References

Supplemental resources.

ADPIE: The Nursing Process is a YouTube video that explains the Nursing Process in more detail. https://youtu.be/cIGiSRE3u1o

The American Nursing Association provides information about the basics of becoming a nurse. http://www.nursingworld.org/EspeciallyForYou/What-is-Nursing/Tools-You-Need/RegisteredNurseLicensing.html

The Occupational Outlook Guide provides information about a career in nursing. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm

O*NET Online provides information about a career in nursing. https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1141.00


The Scientific Method: Steps, Terms and Examples is a YouTube video that explains the Scientific Method in more detail. https://youtu.be/BVfI1wat2y8


Slide Share https://www.slideshare.net/

Prezi https://prezi.com/

Piktochart https://piktochart.com/

Steps of the Scientific Method (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/steps-of-the-scientific-method .

The Nursing Process (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/EspeciallyForYou/What-is-Nursing/Tools-You-Need/Thenursingprocess.html .


The video The Scientific Method Song was created by Have Fun Teaching for the presentation portion of this lesson and published at https://www.youtube.com/embed/KIFz_-KzURY . This video is copyrighted and is not licensed under an open license. Embedded as permitted.

Wyoming Standards for English Language Arts

Learning Domain: Reading for Informational Text

Standard: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.

Degree of Alignment: Not Rated (0 users)

Learning Domain: Reading for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects

Standard: Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.

Learning Domain: Speaking and Listening

Standard: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range or formal and informal tasks.

Maryland College and Career Ready English Language Arts Standards

Common core state standards english language arts, cite this work.


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